Pic heads Addax 1-2 in qualifying

Charles Pic pipped teammate Giedo van der Garde for pole position in tomorrow's feature race in Valencia, claiming the top spot in the final minute of this afternoon's qualifying session to complete the front row for Addax at their home circuit just before Romain Grosjean found the wall from P3 and brought the session to an end.

Pic crossed the line just seconds before his countryman's accident with a time of 1:46.675, stealing pole from his teammate by just 0.052. Grosjean's best lap was also within a tenth of the top spot in a session where the action was just as hot as the scorching temperature.

A black cat ran across the circuit just as the lights went green to release the field, but if anyone was worried that it was an ill omen they were soon proved wrong: Jules Bianchi, Sam Bird, Grosjean, Pic and Esteban Gutierrez claimed and re-claimed the top spot as they all looked for an advantage on the tight and twisty circuit.

But it was van der Garde who looked to have a lock on the session with a scintillating lap just before halfway, with his rivals forced to concede and return for a new set of tires and a chance to find some improvement. Most of the field were back out a few minutes later as Johnny Cecotto spun and stopped at turn 2, bringing out the red flags and annoying those who were on their hot laps.

With only a few minutes remaining once the session went live, the drivers was soon tripping over each other in pursuit of a clean lap: a number of them found the pace for a fast sector, but it looked as though no one was going to be able to string them together until Pic stunned the pitlane with a super lap with 2 minutes remaining.

Grosjean was in P3 and hoping for more, but he pushed just too hard: the Frenchman ran over the curbs and slid into the wall, prompting the red flags as the clock ran down to zero. He will start alongside Luca Filippi tomorrow, with Gutierrez, Bird, Dani Clos and Davide Valsecchi just behind them. And with 13 drivers within a second of pole, and 25 within 2 seconds, the action promises to be even more torrid in the race tomorrow afternoon.

Valencia – Qualifying session

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:46.675 11
2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:46.727 11
3. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:46.771 11
4. Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing 1:46.953 13
5. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:46.995 11
6. Sam Bird iSport International 1:47.016 11
7. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:47.041 12
8. Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 1:47.129 12
9. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:47.337 12
10. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:47.417 11
11. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 1:47.418 12
12. Max Chilton Carlin 1:47.451 12
13. Alvaro Parente Carlin 1:47.752 12
14. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:47.802 10
15. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1:47.875 12
16. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:47.963 12
17. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:48.032 11
18. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:48.056 12
19 Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:48.234 12
20. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 1:48.337 8
21. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:48.527 14
22. Josef Kral Arden International 1:48.601 10
23. Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 1:48.631 11
24. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:48.716 11
25. Julian Leal Rapax 1:48.768 12
26. Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Technology 1:48.972 13

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